SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- The 9th Annual Day of Hope is all set to take place tomorrow throughout the Santa Maria Valley and surrounding communities.
The yearly event is a major fundraiser directly benefiting patients at Mission Hope Cancer Center.
Starting at 7 a.m., hundreds of volunteers will be located throughout the region at nearly three dozen street corners, intersections, parking lots, schools, churches and other highly visible locations.
Participating teams members will once again be selling special edition $1 Santa Maria Times.
"We are super excited," said Cynthia Maldonado, Mission Hope RN Supervisor. "We are all ready to go. We've put a lot of work into this year. There's going to be people on every corner handing out newspapers. Bring your dollars. Everyone make sure you get some dollars bills for tomorrow on your way to work so that you can give your donation to us."
Most of the newspaper locations are in Santa Maria and Orcutt, with one each in Nipomo, Arroyo Grande and Guadalupe.
Over the past eight years, the Day of Hope has raised more than $1.5 million, with all of the proceeds benefiting local cancer patients. Last year's amount was a record-breaker, bringing in a haul of $316,556.
Donations received during the Day of Hope financially support a myriad of support services, programs and technology at Mission Hope.
"Day of Hope is critical to our operations here," said Dr. Ben Wilkinson, Mission Hope Radiation Oncologist. "We're able to offer many of the services, including social work, dietitians, some of the transport options, as well patient assistance directly through Day of Hope fundraising."
The fundraiser comes as the same time Mission Hope is celebrating a monumental milestone, it's 10th anniversary.
"The number of patients that have come through the doors are impressive, definitely into the thousands, and we're able to serve those patients and families with cutting edge technology and also the latest research that we're able to offer for cancer patients," said Wilkinson. "It's incredible that a community our size has an integrated cancer center of this magnitude with this many services. We're able to serve patients, not just here in the Santa Maria Valley, but also further north and further south. We commonly will get patients that are driving extensive distances for treatment and diagnosis."
In addition to the newspaper sales during the morning, a car parade is scheduled as well. Beginning at 11 a.m. at the Santa Maria Fairpark, dozens of cars will travel through the city before finishing at Mission Hope.
"We’re going to have a lot of beautiful cars coming down and a lot of beautiful people in those cars," said Maldonado. "We want to cheer them on and we want to be as loud as we can. We want invite everybody to come out and line the streets and let’s cheer these people and let them know that were we’re here for them and that no one fights alone.”
The 9th Annual Day of hope is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 17, from 7 a.m. to noon.
"Please come out," said Wilkinson. "We're looking forward to inviting the entire area to come and celebrate with us for Day of Hope, and to come see the car parade, and to come visit the teams selling the newspapers, and we need each and every one of you to come support the community."
For more information about the Day of Hope, or to make a donation, click here.